Annals of the Great Fruition - Act I Print E-mail

 Annals of the Great Fruition

Tales of key players in the Big Deliquescence and Gaian Saltation of the Twentyteens 

    The Great Fruition is barely over, but in terms of wars throttled, eco-mayhem forestalled and cultures reborn, it has already set several new evolutionary broad jump records. Its abrupt transformations of education, economics and planetic sensuality also merit historical wonder. Such a world changing era invites reflective insights into the forces in play and why so much moved so fast. Hundreds if not thousands of unlikely heroes ultimately arose to bring this saltation to a critical mass, and we shall chronicle some of the more offbeat and instructive characters in this collection. If you were too young to notice, these are the stories of the 2012 turning and how your parents enchanted the world. 

BOOK I: EXTREMELY FOREIGN AID  

Aklor at the Edge  

Aklor shivers visibly in his violet frequencies. Nearing the end of his millennial Terran mission with barely a thousand orbits left, he grimly chants galactic planetology's second great admonition, "Thou shalt not get involved."  

In his agitated heart field, however, that caveat keeps smacking up against its senior imperative, "Thou shalt not abide planeticide" so the meditation is not going very well. 

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When Aklor took charge of the second Terran visitation from Kabra and Tabb so many years ago, he quickly saw why Terra's site had been demoted to a single observer blind. The planet was lush and thriving, but the primary settlements of the dominant species spent most of their time forcing absurd hierarchies on their populations with arms or threats or dread, and the jealous power pyramids they fabricated slowed evolution to a crawl.   

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The great architectural and spiritual eruptions two millennia before had set off all the transform burst detectors on a passing galactic spidership. A closer pass revealed a planetological jackpot of bio-cultural diversity, an unknown new carbon-spume evidently just entering its liminal phase. As soon as the data stream arrived back at the Galactic Archive there were scattered cheers and Kabra and Tabb were immediately dispatched in a stealth orbital station bristling with sensors and recording gear. 

The first quarter of the tour was reportedly the sweetest. Kabra was there as a communication researcher, but it had always been his cover as an ethnomusic gourmet. He spent long delighted years on dawn and twilight probes recording thousands of different calls and songs. The dominant human bipeds were especially rich, varying widely by tribe and region and sometimes even by solitary throat. Their rituals, arts and customs were likewise wildly varied giving Kabra hope that fruition might not be that far way. The smaller cultures especially were synched so closely to the planet's core vibrations that it would not be long before one or many stumbled on the key singularity tech and the secret spread contagiously.  

Kabra recognized that Terra's communications were all still molecular and knew it could take them scores of generations to make the neural shift. But he also knew that singularities were occurring and as soon as these humans mastered their power the electro-neural transit could happen very fast.  

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Singularities were still infrequent on Terra and Kabra rarely saw one ignite, but he would race down to the lower deck screens whenever the burst sensors went off and had recorded scores of exquisite flashes some lasting for many hours. 

The singularity flares were the earliest signs of a world ripening toward fruition. On Terra like other carbonic realms, they first occurred when ten or more sentient animals gathered together and fortuitously synched their breath, heart rates and brainwaves for a critical length of time. This sparked an overwhelming sensation of ineffable power as their consciousness fused and their hearts opened to the planet's energy matrix.  

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When Terran singularities did occur, they typically erupted out of the humans' music rituals, prayers and chants, which offered a central focus and unifying cadence. Repeated long enough these practices helped them conspire or breathe together and entrain their own internal rhythms. When the brain waves in a critical mass synchronized sufficiently a singularity ignited and fused their minds in a burst of collective glory. Unfortunately, they were still so uncommon and misunderstood when one did flare up in a structured group, awe-struck members were usually told it was some approved deity's epiphany or the zap of their glorious leader rather than a synergetic ignition of their own pooled energy.  

This deception was doubly pernicious. The misdirected gratitude strengthened hierarchies instead of melting them, and fraudulent or clueless leaders exploited it to make their subjects feel small and beholding instead of grasping their own collective power. The leaders did recognize that these epiphanous outbreaks were hard to predict and harder to manage once they got going. Singularities were thus quite hazardous to their perceived authority and claim upon the undivided attention of their group. All Terra's autocratic cultures therefore downplayed or even demonized them, especially those conducted outside the oversight of the prevailing ideologues. Churches burnt hundreds of thousands of singularity seekers as witches, and kingdoms actively hunted, beheaded and hung subversive "conspirators," like the precocious guild craftsmen who breathed together for too long and suddenly got strange heretical ideas like liberté, égalité, and fraternité.  

The bloody repression had improved somewhat during Aklor's tour, but it may have already had its desired effect since singularities seemed to be as rare, misread and wasted as ever before.  

Indeed as the centuries rolled on, these Homo sapiens as they prided themselves had proved surprisingly easy to intimidate and stupefy in almost every realm. A blustering diversity of absolute despots rose on the power of savagery and fear, and comatose centuries could pass on a continent as senseless wars raged, dogma ruled, and the most promising ideas were all burnt alive.  

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Much earlier Tabb had started to archly call them hoSaps in his ground reports. Even Kabra finally despaired and demoted the site to single observer status and Aklor's lonely vigil. Tabb had often sighed that they should pull the mission altogether, but K was curious how long the death grip could last. Indeed they both sustained a morbid interest in the planet. Every few thousand orbits one of them would scintle into the holo-deck and dourly ask what the score was among the army ants this quarter. 

Aklor enjoyed their visits and normally could briskly reel off various regimes' current holdings, body counts, and increments in death-related investment. For the last century or so, however, he'd found himself stifling spasms during these appalling recitations that might reveal he was starting to really care. Even the theatrically cynical Tabb inhaled audibly at some of the recent numbers and kept mumbling, "Where the hell are the females?"  

Tabb was flashing back to the rosy early centuries of his own Terran stint and remembering the fierce Mediterranean heroines who had artfully foiled or tempered so many stupid wars.  

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Terra had been Tabb's first far field mission and thanks to his beloved mother and his own young yearnings, he found the human females the most captivating actors in the theater below and studied them quite a lot. "Way overmuch," Kabra would jeer, but the youth delighted in winning wagers with his grizzled superior by consistently betting on the females in the random domestic frays they scanned. Fortunately, Kabra was magnanimous enough to admit he'd lost even when some male went berserk and slapped the female to the ground. 

Given his own mother's early passage and a rocky youth among the Virsinian desert clans with only his father as a guide, Kabra harbored more than a few patriarchal prejudices. To the youth's delight they afflicted K's judgment often enough to give Tabb a 7,000 tarqit wager balance when they finally ended the Terran tour.  

Thanks to their hormonal explosions and peculiar anatomy, these females had earned Tabb's respect without prurient overtones - unlike those that were emotionally complicating his mission to Trefil about now. The sylvan Trefilanas were not as stunningly ardent or sly as their Terran sisters but at least they resonated in familiar frequencies and had properly configured apertures. 

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Aklor indulged Tabb's wistful Terran nostalgia and regretted he didn't have better news. He even mercifully neglected reporting that some of the latest savagery was the work of female autocrats, though on the whole they were still the most widely victimized and violated sex everywhere on the scanning screens below. 

Even Tabb really knew the score, Aklor would remind himself. T had been watching throughout the following harsh centuries as one patriarchal creed after another swept across all the major cultures ritually impoverishing female spiritual, sensual and political potency almost everywhere. Gradually animism, pantheism and the sway of the goddess were ecclesiastically subdued or incinerated. Aklor himself had witnessed the final orgies of that destruction. Though appalled he dutifully recorded the carnage as religious despots sent out armies in both the east and west to cauterize the roots of feminine power. 

Aklor did take some hope from the many who continued to resist the worst violence of these juvenile male gangs and only a few years before he had laughed aloud watching an anachronistic sex strike end a generation of civil war in northern Africa. Females seemed to resonate more with the evolutionary longing and most improvements visible below were nourished with their strength. They were obviously not prevailing though and that brought Aklor back to his dilemma again.  

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Aklor is a leathery Arcturian and hardly squeamish, but watching this lovely blue orb devour and devastate itself for the last century has been a bit more than he can bear. In the few terrestrial years he has left he wonders if a totally unauthorized intervention with a very uncertain outcome is worth facing punitively boring protozoan tracking tours for the next few thousand years. 

He sighs as he feels his quandary irresistibly morphing from whether to intercede or not to what the hell to do. 

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Reality Checks

Kabra had said when he left and oft reiterated since that Aklor would one day sanctify him for his unauthorized rebuild of the bioplasma scanner. Aklor had of course respected the cleverness of the hack and used the attention maps it generated more than any other data to parse Terra's social zoos. He told Kabra it was indeed a great tool, but hardly worth K's expected exaltation. Kabra had snorted dismissively, "You just don't understand it yet." 

Kabra had gotten the idea on one of his song trips recording frog mating calls around a highland pond. A big macaque troop burst into a neighboring clearing carrying forage from the woods and spent the evening romping and bathing in the cool green water. Kabra was entranced, but since their songs were mostly hoots and gibberish, he decided to record their festivities with the old bioplasma probe instead.  

The BP scanner was designed to sense bio-carbonic energy fluxes and had two settings. Setting One screened living tissue for behavior activation complexes - energy molecules, sexual hormones, enzyme catalysts, etc. - what Kabra called the "juice." Setting Two displayed all the internal nerve-gland interactions as nervous stutters birthed swarms of molecules and energetic molecular streams sparked exquisite neural cascades, or as K put it, the "inner dance."   

Kabra panned the device around the troop and noticed some strange patterns for the first time. The males circulating in the margins of the group all had visibly lower juice levels than those commanding center stage and there was a clear gradient in the distance from the bossy alpha male. The external clout-inner vitality ratio caught his notice, but when he switched to dance mode he really got absorbed.  

Every time males lost a tussle or were chased from a tidbit, amorous female or resting place, their nervous response flooded their bodies with stressor sparkles that knocked their juice levels to the floor. The winners' juice conversely surged and stayed high for many hours.  That was interesting to be sure, but the fascinating part was that the same thing happened even without the brawls.  

Peripheral members' juice subsided just watching the central figures or listening to their noisy calls. It was a slower process but the BP juice screen clearly showed that watching seemed to drain the watchers and drench the watched with critical energy molecules. The further from the center, the more watching, the more drainage, and the less apparent vitality, immune activity or even sexual potency. These exchanges were obviously critical, but between the watchers and the watched nothing showed up on the screen. 

That's when Kabra got the idea for BP Setting Three - a function to display the attention channels that seemed to shape and prefigure each group's dance, juice, structure and health. He beamed back to the station lab that night and spent the next five orbits tinkering with the BP scanner's circuitry.  

Tabb looked in when he had missed two recharge naps, but K was too obsessed to rest or even talk. "I'm on to something here, just leave me be and cover for me on the ground tours. I'll pay you back." T recognized these moods and knowing how long they could last, he managed to monetize the gratitude at 50 tarquits per orbit and happily drifted back to the upper decks. 

The mission's BP scanners had the latest nano-circuits and electron trackers, but had not been redesigned since Bovoro released his first quantum string recognition chips. Before departure, Bovoro had beamed in unexpectedly to wish his old student Kabra success and gave him a few "to play with" before he left.  

The old inventor had been trying for 800 Antarian years to remotely map Cooper pair symmetry and the communication channels of quantum entanglement. Unfortunately, his arduously crafted sensor chips never quite worked for that. They couldn't discriminate respective quark states so the quantum mapping was out, but they could track linear field excitations astonishingly well. He was deeply disappointed, but tried to console himself with other imagined applications like monitoring bio-psychic fields too faint for the electro-molecular scans.  

Bovoro had presented them modestly as "possibly intriguing toys," but Kabra knew his old teacher was hoping he would help him find some redeeming use for the crowning labor of his life. K dug them out now and figured if he could patch a pair into the incoming and outgoing BP sensor streams, they might be able to track the invisible energy flows he'd just intuited in the creatures' attention spectra below.  

The first hack was not elegant, as K himself would admit, nor was the display crystal sharp. But the pulsing iridescent images it generated were quite enthralling nonetheless. They could in fact map the attention probes of any conscious creature and better yet the energetic intercourse in any social group.  

As a communication enthusiast, K was buoyed by the results and spent the last 60 orbits of the tour refining the device. He adapted it to read their archived data streams and even speculatively adjusted it to register intentional electromagnetic signals if Terran science ever got that far. 

Kabra finished the project just a few orbits ahead of Aklor's arrival and as he and Tabb were leaving he presented it to their young replacement ceremoniously wrapped in fragrant Andresian foil.  

"What's this, some ungainly new BP scanner?" the depleted Aklor blurted tactlessly. 

"OK, it's a kludge but it's also your bright shining key to Terra, my boy," Kabra shot back unfazed, "and when you understand its power you'll gratefully kiss my sphincter clasp." 

Young Aklor cringed at the elder's obscenity, but seeing Tabb gesturing wildly in the background, accepted the gift with a nervous smile. "Operating instructions?"  

"The basics are tucked in the old BP manual, but you will have to figure out a lot on your own. Just go down and play with it for a while. I've barely had time to explore it myself, but it seems to work like a charm. Plug it into the tribal development data, too. It explains a lot." He grinned, waved off and they were gone. 

Aklor was slightly intrigued but completely exhausted from his transport freeze and collapsed into the recharge bay for the next ten orbits. He awoke to a firestorm of flashing alarms on overflowing scan recorders and raced around purging and archiving the feeds looking in vain for some pick up in the singularity count. 

In the hoSap zones, the warfare was pretty organized and relentless now, and the feudal memes pandemic. He realized from his schooling this was not a good sign, and he could be stuck here logging pointless border shifts and body counts for a very long time. 

He tried to keep his spirits up with wild midnight surface runs, Kabra's quirky song collections, and his most private vice of all, a near erotic love for the sensuous landscapes of this world. He marveled at the hilarious diversity of beings embedded in its living skin each contributing its part, each obliged to the whole. Even the human tribes that arose in each watershed in the early eras seemed an organic outgrowth of their land and fruited in eco-reverent arts and creeds. Kabra was right. The seed stock and psychic germ plasm were all here. They were just being aggressively miscarried. 

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Wondering where it had all gone wrong, Aklor snapped Kabra's BP monitor into the tribal archive, chose a fast time-lapse playback and flipped it to Setting Three.  

He sat engrossed for days on end watching one tribe after another fall prey to the same destructive algorithm. The attention scans showed the whole pathetic logic of the corruption of egalitarian communities into hierarchical autocracies.  

As Kabra had sensed, the key was each group's attention transactions - who paid it and who received it and what enduring power structures precipitated from those vital trades.  

In the early classless societies the attentional focus and the authority it conferred traveled freely through the group according to need and season.  In hungry times the master hunters and farming stars held the spotlight and commandeered respect and leadership. Once they succeeded the spotlight passed to the cooks, dancers and musical prodigies as the feasts were held and Nature's bounty celebrated.  

When sickness came the group's attention moved to the healers, and in times of disaster or prosperity the builders stepped up to lead. When attacked from outside, those with the most aggressive gifts rose briefly to command and if they prevailed, the limelight again reverted to the masters of festivities, music and dance to celebrate their victory.  

In short, group attention, its transient authority and invigorating respect circulated as needed among all the useful vocations in the tribe. This revolving spotlight nurtured and rewarded creativity, wisdom and a plethora of skills that ensured communal health and a great respect for female talents as well.   

Unhappily, as Aklor's scans were showing, this salubrious cycle always seemed to break down the same way. It was the "Ah ha!" moment the violence artists realized they would never again have to cede the spotlight or its political power to healers, hunters, dancers, cooks, farmers or any other profession if the group was always under attack or at least believed itself to be.  

Even if you weren't being threatened or raided by the neighbors, it was easy enough to provoke their assaults with a few slings and arrows of your own. Once the cycle got going, the neighbors' most talented sociopaths also commanded their group's attention, and pretty soon they realized incessant angst and violence was in their interest, too. Thus revolving leadership and women's vital roles all fell prey to bloody chauvinism, mounting hierarchy, and centuries of endless war.   

Ergo Aklor's glum era of feuding tribes that gradually morphed into the dueling fiefs, kingdoms, and imperial colonizations which where staining his data streams with so much death and misery. 

That afternoon was Aklor's closest approach to planetological enlightenment in his young career. The patterns he observed were if not universal at least grimly dominant enough to warp Terran history and likely obstruct this planet's fruition for his whole bloody tour. 

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There still was a glimmer of hope, he thought, as he watched empires dismantled in recent years and a resurgence of diverse voices and egalitarian reforms. But then he noticed that Terra's recent neural transit had also unexpectedly galvanized the emergence of some disturbing new life forms. 

The early hoSap settlements had gradually learned the arts of molecular intercourse and began exchanging physical notes, scrolls, books and other objects filled with instructive information sometimes over great distances. Then barely a century and half ago, they finally made the neural leap as they learned to code their information into patterns of electricity. This capacity had grown so lush so quickly that even his low res electromag scans now showed the whole planet alight with a shimmering signal haze. 

Typically this would have been an exciting sign that this planet was reaching fruition phase at last and it would even occur on his watch. But Aklor also saw that from the time of the neural transition that gigantic new commercial mutations -- Big Bodies, he called them -- were arising as well. Most of these collectives had started out innocently enough incarnating constructive trades. Soon, however, a few had grown indiscriminately vast and rapacious. They were quickly devastating surface life, arresting human maturation, and threatening to abort Terran fruition once again. 

So just as these embattled bipeds were shedding the burden of parasitic tyrannies, they suddenly found themselves confronted with insidious huge new bodies that pillaged the countryside and infected their kind with contagious hungers, anxieties and a servile readiness to bow and acquire instead of stand up and evolve. Those outside were constantly being targeted for some extortion or exploitation. Those incorporated gave up all their adult rights and were treated as perpetual minors, which effectively arrested or emasculated hundreds of thousands of their males for many years.  

Forbidden peripheral vision or concerns beyond the corporate membrane, the formidable power of all members' attention was laser focused to reveal and exploit every possible opportunity for never ending growth. Their collective attentional probes could sense and extract streams of profit in any imaginable arena - from oceans, forests, and mountain tops to illness, angst and children's dreams. 

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Ironically, Aklor noted his tissue scans of the modern hoSaps' many cancers were surprisingly similar to energy maps of these new bodies on his screens. Both tumors and these Big Bodies focused their energies more on expansion than useful function and would blithely eradicate anything in the neighborhood that got in their way.  

They also both seemed to start alike from some constructive cellular or human group activity that somehow spun out of control. They quickly grew disoriented from the patterns of life around them and embarked on mindless growth. And both tumors and Big Bodies were not only able to evade immune detection, they conned their host bodies into helping structure and nourish their malignant advance. 

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The breakpoint between healthy corporate function and Big Body malignancy always seemed presaged by the same signs. The most potent: a) a critical focal shift from creating/maintaining a body to support an activity to creating/maintaining activities to support a body; and b) escalating size and distance between leaders and the led. When work groups' grew too large for members to personally know, judge and trust each other, they transited quickly from creativity to conformity, from collaboration to obedience, from human scale to malignant magnitude.  

Thus did Aklor morosely watch many cooperative work groups swell to pathological size. (Diagnostically his favorite shorthand was a count of the MBA-programmed hoSaps in a body's headquarters. Their proliferation usually foreshadowed a malignant turn and they always played the most aggressive roles in the Big Bodies that emerged.)  

More curious and daunting to Aklor was their prevalence. It evidently didn't matter which ideology they grew up under. East, West, North, South, communism, capitalism, and socialism -- all seemed vulnerable to Big Body pathologies. It was just an epidemic fact that any hoSap group anywhere that incorporated many thousands and sought continued growth posed some perilous risk or other for its neighbors and their lands.  

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Aklor did have to admit that before he started to quease at their collateral damage he had found these lively excrescences a lot of fun to watch. When he plugged Kabra's BP hack into the timelapse archives, he could sit transfixed for entire orbits as members of these pulsing bodies streamed into their shining shells and spires like giant slime molds each morning, choreographed their energies all through the day, and scattered again to the hinterlands at night.  

Even before the electromag transition, their energy dynamics were quite intriguing as thousands conjoined a narrow frequency of consciousness that animated their entire collective with a singular voracious esprit d'corps. After their electro-neural leap though, these bodies really got fascinating and a lot easier to observe.  

After they were electrified, many shot out filaments of hungry attention in all directions like beautiful anemones of flickering light; and each time a tendril touched a trove of resources or the monetary sugars it craved, you could see it pause and shiver and brighten in excited force. Once these sensor streams located an objective, even a thousand miles away, motor tentacles would swiftly snake out channeling the instructions to grapple it in and dissolve whatever obstacles were in the way.  

Since both their sensory and motor streams were essentially just data channels and each body coded its own signals into their flows, Aklor could digitally tune in on particular bodies and map their attention traffic both within their shells and their intercourse with the outer world.  

Inside their often lofty shells, the well groomed and regimented members weren't really much different from Kabra's scruffy macaques. Their attention was all pumped upward to power centers at the top, the head-quarters that issued the signals determining their daily goals and tasks. Those low in the hierarchy or almost everyone involved were thus always paying out more attention than they received and being relentlessly drained of the most vital resource in their lives. This tended to make and keep them small, nervous and unassertive and soon many became as enfeebled and neutered as the marginal macaques. 

Big Bodies' attention tendrils were not like those of their human constituents, which were full-spectrum and diffuse, and would happily embrace many targets like families, nature, creeds and art. Big Bodies found such concerns not only fruitless, but also a competitive drain on their collective élan. They therefore carefully filtered their members' attention so it would only respond to things that fed their collective strength and growth. So while human attention fields showed up in the new BP scans as a hazy golden white, Big Body beams registered as a glittering barrage of penetrating polarized blues.  

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There was a lot of heartening resistance in many lands, but each body politics' immune cells, the trusty 10% who congenitally ran toward troubles trying to help instead of rationally running away, were plainly on the losing side. It wasn't that these immuno-activists were not heroic, creative or often extremely smart. They repeatedly were, in specific battles at least, but they all focused so intently on particular wrongs, they seemed blind to what was really going on.  

Thousands of groups were constantly arising to fight some symptom or other of Big Body harm, but few if any looked upstream and perceived the common cause. Many found themselves so expert in and wedded to their chosen symptom that it became a part of their identity. They could relate the history of their focal ills in great and damning detail, but they rarely tried to diagnose the wider plague. Their entire world was dying from corporate induced consumption, pollution, corruption and resource wars. Yet they kept targeting a few symbolic symptoms and actors instead of aiming for broad spectrum remedies. 

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In their defense Aklor could tell that humans couldn't even really see Big Bodies. Even their fiercest human foes would point in their direction, wave their arms and holler hazy oddities like "special interest," "legal fiction," or, Aklor's favorite bafflegab, "agglomeration of property;" either that or they would just angrily wave some logo around to signify the enemy du jour.  

They obviously knew something was out there. They saw the thousand-hectare clearcuts, the dead river deltas, the emptying sea, the loss of entire mountains, and yet were told to somehow wrap their minds around the notion that this is all the work of abstract entities.  

This didn't make much sense to many witnesses who glimpsed behind this havoc some very powerful, single-minded and apparently self directed bodies, bodies that acted very concretely and more like huge destructive parasites than any legal fiction they could picture in their minds.  

And this is where it got puzzling again for Aklor as well. Humans could see what a colossal impact these bodies had on their lives and surroundings. There were even thousands of schools teaching humans how to get into these living systems, but virtually no one taught or even questioned exactly how they functioned or what they really were.  

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Their vernacular name in a popular language was corporation, which both clarified and confused the issue. The clarity came from the word's history which once meant living body in one of their ancient tongues. So they had the vital metaphor, but still could not yet make the leap. The confusion arose because they used exactly this same word for both Big Bodies and the much smaller harmless ancestor groups. Indeed every time some Big Body was systematically attacked it would saturate the airwaves for weeks on end with faces from little mom and pop operations that muddled public perception and served as human shields.  

Aklor had messaged Tabb about this ambiguity once and ventured that "corporation" might be a word like dog that signified a single species, but included very different breeds, some small, some rather large. Tabb scoffed, "that may be rational when the size range is fifty to one at most, but when some breeds get to be 10,000 times bigger than others it's time for a new taxonomy." 

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Then there was the imperceptibility enigma. OK, maybe most of these Big Bodies were only in existence and operation a third of the day, but they were hardly invisible. It was absurdly easy to observe them forming in the mornings, digesting resources in the countryside, learning new behavior, communicating, excreting - lots of excreting, reproducing, and merging with other bodies to grow even more. And it was also pretty obvious that wherever the biggest ones focused their attention on the planet something noxious usually happened on the ground; and that they could remain at it and harmful for a very long time. A few immuno-activists did sense they were dealing with an entirely new threat, a superorganismic class of life, a fell species of its own. 

Like most enterprising species, Big Bodies industriously refashioned their environs to favor their kind. Since the chief obstacles to Big Body dominion were legal and political curbs imposed by surrounding human populations, they devoted many years and great resources to dissolving these restraints. By suborning key political leaders and incorporating immense legal teams of their own, they gradually usurped human governance and achieved state aid and abetment for their takings and toxicity. They even seemed to suspend their body politics' survival instincts and common sense getting humans to support health bodies that profited from their illness, defense corps that profited from their peril, and security forces that profited from their insecurity.  

The emergent Big Bodies were clearly ascendant now and it bode ill for the hapless humans and Aklor's peace of mind. Focusing millions of expensively educated minds solely on competitive corporate expansion everyday can devastate the lushest planet and was clearly trashing Terra now.  

Aklor kept waiting for someone to shout, "Hey, look! Look what happens when all these people fuse their living energy together for hours and weeks and years on end and only focus on their own collective's growth. They stop behaving like citizens or even adults. They act like tiny cells in some strange new superorganisms, huge primitive creatures that only live to feed and bloat. Worse, these bodies have grown way beyond human scale, sane purpose or democratic constraint. They spread consumptive fevers and are devouring our world. They're consuming our communities, governance, and children's consciousness. These damn things are alive and dangerous! They are alive, in charge and out of control!" 

But alas no one ever did. For a long while, Aklor vacillated haughtily between scorn and pity for this blindness until he realized that hoSaps could barely sense the powers or importance of their own attentional energy yet, let alone the lethal tentacles it formed in corporate hives. 

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Aklor also remembered with some discomfort his own aesthetic enchantment watching the Big Bodies' writhing anemones of light on the BP scans, sometimes even after knowing how fatal their touch was to all surrounding forms of life. He also recalled that all his own brilliant insights into these creatures' behavior and physiology were courtesy of Kabra's kludge and Bovoro's eyes.  

These grudging recollections at first disconcerted him, but then they suddenly converged and lit him up with an unexpected ray of hope. Success was certainly not assured, but if he could at least get the hoSaps to see what he saw he just might be able to turn this around. 

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Acutely conscious of the cascading crises below and weary of his own dithering, Aklor retired to the recharge bay to meditate and decide. "OK, let's go over this one more time," he mumbled to himself. "What's the worst that can happen? Say we succeed and trigger fruition. Who would bother to investigate? The archive crew will likely just mutter 'Finally!' and breathe a sigh of relief that mission costs were justified. And if I fail? Well, Terra is already nearly 500,000 orbits overdue so who would really notice that either -- as long as I don't conspicuously mess up?"   

He recalled young Leybai's botch of a Barla intervention that Archive folks quietly sympathized with while loudly ridiculing his tactical idiocy. Leybai had tried the old alien threat routine to unify Barla's warring lands, so it was hardly a subtle ploy to begin with. But when half the governments offered their people's total subservience for tech to destroy their neighbors, he blenched and aborted the whole charade. Barla's inhabitants became even more terrified, and their fears were soon channeled back into all-out fratricide. The mission was cancelled, Leybai was disgraced, and Barla blithely continued destroying itself for another millennium or so until it finished the job quite concisely with a few dozen thermonuclear blasts. 

Those were footsteps Aklor did not want to follow. But now thanks to Kabra and Bovoro he felt he had a pretty compelling alternative and finally decided to jump in. If this is going to work, he realized, he'd have to move very fast. He had less than a thousand orbits left to help the hoSaps grasp their own attention's secrets, clearly perceive Big Bodies, and propagate an irrepressible wave of singularities. He still didn't have any master plan, but at least he knew where to start.  

To be continued in Chapter II: Aklor among the Immunogentiles.

 

 

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